BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – There are success stories to be found in the heroin crisis, and Jesse Greathouse has one of those stories.
The Boardman man is celebrating one year of being sober on Friday.
Greathouse said he was living an insane life between 2008 and 2016. He served a year in prison for possession of heroin, was booked into the county jail over 10 times and has been to numerous treatment facilities from here to Florida.
“Even through the midst of addiction, I wanted to get sober. I just couldn’t stop,” he said.
Greathouse’s addiction started after a car accident. He was prescribed Vicodin before the doctor cut him off. He found Oxycontin, and then a friend offered him heroin.
His family finally told him that they loved him, but they couldn’t take it anymore.
Greathouse called that his bridge to hope.
He checked into the Lia House in Cleveland, a long-term treatment facility.
“There’s no profit motive there,” he said. “Their goal is to help another drunk, another addict, to get their life together, and that’s difference between this and treatment centers that we’re used to.”
Greathouse calls addiction a disease of isolation and disconnection — that the stigma has people hiding it from family, neighbors, and even their employers
“Addicts are looked at as bad people,” he said. “It’s not looked at as a health problem. They’re looked at as bad people. If they’re looked at as sick people, we can make some change.”
Greathouse’s life has changed. He works in the kitchen at New Path while also going back to school.
He is now a positive person and believes people who tell him things are getting better, including his family.
“Thank God they don’t have to put up with my bullcrap anymore,” he said. “They don’t have to come home and find something stolen or get a phone call that I’m dead.”
Greathouse also said that love, compassion and hope are important to share with addicts.
He believes making that change and looking at addiction as a health issue would lead to an easier path for addicts to get treatment.